Interview with a Wiki Ninja: Mandi Ohlinger

We're continuing our Monday series, "". Today it is Mandi Ohlinger!


Mandi's profile


I met Mandi face to face last year during the BizTalk Summit in Redmond. We had long conversations on the TechNet Wiki and BizTalk. Now it is a great honor for me to interview her for the Monday Series.

Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

Technically, I’m a writer for BizTalk Server, Service Bus EAI & EDI Labs, and BizTalk Server on the VM Role. In my heart, I am a BizTalk support engineer. Prior to the Writer role, my entire Microsoft career has been in support. I started with Microsoft Access where I spoke with a spectrum of customers, including teaching the meaning of ‘double-click’, explaining relational database concepts, writing T-SQL queries, and helping with VBA code. Next, it was supporting IIS users that I found I LOVED debugging memory dumps. Yep – LOVED. After that, it was BizTalk support where I remained for what seems like a lifetime. And BizTalk is where I’ve stayed. I cannot think of  another product that touches so many other technologies and layers. From a support perspective, BizTalk is perfect because every day is a chance to learn something new.

What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?

I like articles that describe an issue with a list of possible resolutions. The TechNet Wiki is the perfect place so others can add their ‘resolutions’. It fits into my job by making content publishing easier. For example, I was doing some whitepaper work and found that we were missing a central location for BizTalk White papers. As a result, BizTalk Server: White Paper Gallery now exists on the TechNet Wiki.

What are your favorite articles you’ve contributed?

BizTalk Administrator's Checklist Compiled by Microsoft BizTalk Support is definitely on the list. During a support call, a MsgBox Viewer report is typically always collected. I always review this report and make suggestions. Over time, this list started to create itself. It includes actual support calls we’ve received, like knowing the SSO master secret password. There isn’t anything worse than telling a customer BizTalk has to be unconfigured/reconfigured because no one knows the SSO master secret password.

Common Issues and Resolutions with the BizTalk Server Administration console is another favorite. I was working with a customer where the BizTalk Administration console was slow or not responding. Then, it seemed there was a trend of cases with this same issue. This article is a direct result of those support cases.

Do you have any tips for new Wiki contributors?

From the writer in me, try to avoid ‘death by hyperlinks’. When an article has a list of hyperlinks that seems to go on forever, it can be overwhelming. From the support engineer in me, share, share, share. Working with BizTalk, we’ve all seen different things. And what works for someone may not work for you. Share what has worked for you.

What are your big projects right now?

The biggest project is our BizTalk integration story with Windows Azure, which includes Service Bus EAI & EDI Labs. This is an exciting time for the BizTalk Server family of products. Another big project is arranging the BizTalk Boot Camp 2013, which is a two-day technical event that focuses on our new offerings: BizTalk Server 2013, Service Bus EAI & EDI Labs, and BizTalk Server in the VM Role. It is at the Microsoft Corporation campus in Charlotte, NC on Monday May 6 and Tuesday May 7, 2013.

What is TechNet Wiki for? Who is it for?

I remember the day I first heard of the TechNet Wiki idea. My colleague, Larry Franks, came to the BizTalk support aisle here in Charlotte and asked about using a Wiki for content. My reply was “What a good idea!” There is a lot of knowledge and experience in the community. The TechNet Wiki provides a central location to share this knowledge. And, it’s for anyone. You can post information or browse for information. It’s like MSDN on performance-enhancing drugs.

What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

Does all of it count? I like that anyone can share information. I like that anyone can add to existing articles. I like that it’s easy to use. I like the feeling of ‘community’ when someone comments or adds to an article.  

On what articles have you collaborated with other community members on #TNWiki? What was that experience like?

BizTalk Administrator's Checklist Compiled by Microsoft BizTalk Support is a great example of collaboration with other BizTalk engineers and the community. There’s been a great response and it really has become a go-to article. The experience is rewarding. It’s always a good thing when other BizTalk users comment or add to the article. The more the merrier!

Who has impressed you in the Wiki community, and why?

There are so many users that have impressed me. And, I don’t want to make anyone blush J. In addition to the ‘who’, I’d also like to answer the ‘what’. And that answer is the involvement! The Wiki truly is a community-driven content source.

Thanks Mandi for all your dedication and support for BizTalk and your contributions to the TechNet Wiki.

 - Ninja Steef-Jan (Blog, Wiki, Twitter, Profile)

Comments (6)

  1. My favorite quote from Mandi, but I'm not sure what to think of it yet…

    "[TechNet Wiki is] like MSDN on performance-enhancing drugs."

  2. Mandi has been doing an amazing job and not just on Technet Wiki 🙂

    For that, Thanks Mandi!

  3. We need more Mandi's on Technet .. Pretty, smart and a wiki lover ..!!

    Nice to meet you..

  4. I added Mandi's profile link.

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